Iwakuni City is located in the far east of Yamaguchi Prefecture on the border with Hiroshima Prefecture. With a modest population of around 140,000 inhabitants, the city faces the Seto Inland Sea.
The standout feature of the city is the five-arched Kintai Bridge which spans the Nishiki River. It is the perfect place to feel the spirit of western Japan. The bridge serves as a gateway to several cultural points of interest and is a popular spot from which to appreciate the long column of cherry trees along the river during the blossom season.
Iwakuni Castle is on the summit of Shiroyama, with commanding views of the city and the Seto Sea. You can walk to the summit or take a short gondola ride to the top. Enjoy cherry blossom viewing on the castle grounds in the spring.
The Iwakuni Museum of Art and Kikkawa Museum are a near the Kintai Bridge and are filled with artifacts related to the city’s history. As you stroll along, pass by the parks and Japanese style gardens.
If festivals are your thing, the Kintai Bridge Festival in April is a colorful re-creation of the processions of Japan’s feudal past. The Nishiki River Water Festival in August is a night-time event that includes a finale of fireworks.
The Iwakuni Festival is held annually toward the end of October and is a total feast for the senses. The festivities include a parade of dancers dressed in colorful kimono and straw hats, moving rhythmically through the streets. There are food stalls and flea markets, where you are bound to find a tasty snack or an interesting curio.
If food is what you are after then try Iwakuni-zushi; a layered form of sushi, that is sure to satisfy your appetite. How about lotus root? Iwakuni-renkon is a healthy treat that is served in a variety of dishes.
Compact and accessible, Iwakuni offers the best of Japan.
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